News briefs - 4/8/2008

Abaris to train FAA inspectors; OCV Reinforcements comments on Saint-Gobain acquisition; AOC announces resins, gel coats price increase; Ashland wins two awards in China; Vermont Composites announces new manager; Norplex-Micarta installs differential scanning calorimeter

Abaris Training Resources Inc. (Reno, Nev.) reported at the JEC Composites show in Paris, April 1-3, that it has been awarded a contract to train 119 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors on composites maintenance and repair.

OCV Reinforcements (Toledo, Ohio) met with media representatives at the JEC show and offered a report on its recently finalized acquisition of Saint-Gobain’s reinforcements business. Chuck Dana, president and CEO of OCV Reinforcements, says customer reaction to the acquisition and new moniker has been positive. He says the company realized $100 million in initial cost savings and now has a manufacturing presence in many of the world’s major glass fiber-consuming regions. Overall, OCV energy use per pound of material produced is going down, and demand for glass fiber exceeds supply in all regions served by the company. Dana estimates that global glass fiber capacity utilization is 81 percent right now, and should hit 90 percent by 2012.

AOC LLC (Collierville, Tenn.) has announced a $0.07/lb price increase on all resins and gel coats exported from the United States, effective for all shipments beginning April 21, 2008.

Ashland Inc. (Dublin, Ohio) received two awards from Chinese government officials recognizing its manufacturing facility in Changzhou, China. The awards recognize Ashland’s investment in the district, and the company’s dedication to environmental preservation. The 2007 Annual Top Ten Investment Project award was given to companies that made or increased a significant investment in the district. Ashland invested additional $1.5 million and launched a new expansion project that will triple the company’s production of unsaturated polyester resins. The Environmental Friendly Company in Changzhou award was given to Ashland due to the company’s effort and commitment to environmental preservation.

Vermont Composites Inc. (VCI, Bennington, Vt.) has announced that Tom Bell has been appointed manager, manufacturing support. Bell joined Vermont Composites in March 2008 as manager of the manufacturing support group. Immediately prior to that appointment, he served for eight years as a senior analyst with the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership in Albany, N.Y. During his tenure with NIST-MEP, he provided training and implementation support to dozens of manufacturing organizations through the application of lean and other continuous improvement methods.

Norplex-Micarta (Postville, Iowa), a manufacturer of high-performance thermoset composites, has installed a TA Instruments Model Q20 differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) at its Postville, Iowa headquarters. The equipment is used to measure thermal transitions in materials by recording heat flow changes. The upgrade is part of on-going capital expenditure growth intended to advance the use of state-of-the-art equipment for material testing. The equipment is expected to help Norplex-Micarta ensure that its thermoset composites will stand up to even the most extreme high temperature and high electrical voltage and current applications. Testing can be conducted on most Norplex-Micarta cured composites, including tubing, sheet, and molded products.